Auburn University
Auburn University

Chris Colvin's PLUS Speech

March 10, 2010

Chris ColvinRecently, I wrote a paper and did some research of everyone’s favorite man-child: Peter Pan. From reading the original story to watching the Disney film to reading critical analysis and applying it to other texts, I have learned more than I thought I would about being a man. Peter is a complex character but everyone can relate to him in one way or another. For me, I see that if I want to fly, I have to not be so serious and live life to the fullest. If I want to fly, I also have to grow up and, as Toni Morrison contends in Song of Solomon, surrender to the air. I have been a Peter Pan before, but as I grew in mind and spirit, I saw that my perceptions needed to leave Neverland. The one thing that is persistent about perceptions is that they change. Over the past three years, many of my perceptions have changed. I see what it is like in the real world outside of Neverland. I see that the world really is my oyster and I have to work hard in order to have a lasting place in it. I see now that college is more than note taking, frat parties and anticipating the day we can drink legally. All of these perceptions I once had have changed. I know that if I want go out tonight, I need to study today. I know that if I want to go to graduate school, I need to be prepared for the most demanding competition of my life. I know and fully understand that I, and no one else, am in pursuit of my future and I must take the proper measures to get there. As an incoming freshman, I was one of the biggest Peter Pans I know. I hated responsibility, I hated parental control, and I hated the fact that within a few more years, I would be an adult. Though it took a few bad test scores and unworthy papers to make me shape up, it was the PLUS program with assistance from Wachovia that that really showed me the exit from Neverland was not too far out of my reach.

It was PLUS that took a black kid from Tuscaloosa who had just a little more than potential and drive and began molding him into a man with all the promise in the world. By giving me a scholarship, required study time and ample opportunities to network, PLUS opened doors that I thought would never be unlocked. Before, I was doing my best to make good grades and make my mother proud. Now, I am making a name for myself and thus making myself proud. Before, I was interested in socializing and keeping my fingers crossed in hopes of pizza at the weekly meeting. Now, I’m interested in Shakespeare, the Harlem Renaissance and Olympic competitions and still keeping my fingers crossed in hopes of pizza at the weekly meeting. Had it not been for PLUS, it is possible that I still would have been just another black kid with potential and no outlet. I was forced to study. I was forced to understand diversity and tolerate of my peers. I was forced to grow up, buckle down and not give the provost any reason to consider taking my scholarship away. It’s funny that money was my main motivation for doing well in school. I guess that was my inner Peter. But the fact that I can look back and see that I have gained so much more proves that my inner Peter is becoming a man.

Many things have changed about me from freshmen to senior year. I’ve matured and learned things that I never even knew existed. Thanks in large part to PLUS. PLUS doesn’t teach me anything in the classroom, but it makes sure I go. PLUS doesn’t boost my G.P.A. but it helps me help myself do so. PLUS didn’t get me into Auburn, but it does any and everything in its power to make sure I don’t leave before I’m supposed to. One thing about me has changed and I know that it won’t change again. PLUS has given me a new outlook on academics, society and life in general. The perception I had before I was a PLUS scholar is not what it is now. The kid with potential is now a man with promise. Once I saw that I could leave Neverland, I began to fly high and PLUS and Wachovia has been the wind that has carried me the entire time.